Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I found grass-fed beef that makes me drool when I think about it.

I am not a big beef person. 

And I am definitely not a stringy sinewy chuck roast beef person.  Gross.

But then… something happened. 

I was actually enticed by a big chunk of chuck roast.  Seduced.  Tempted.

I mean, c’mon, look at that photo!  Gaze at those veins!  We are talking Tim-the-Tooltime-Taylor-male-grunting beautiful block of beef.

I did a double-take and asked the clerk at Mary’s Natural Foods in Springdale… “What makes this beef so special?”

“It’s grass-fed beef from Clear Water Ranch out of Gentry.”

Local.  Grass-fed.  Health food store approved.  I was in.  All in.

Trust me, all five senses were fully engaged or anticipating engagement. 

I took this baby home, salt and peppered it and lovingly placed it in my slow cooker.  Set on low for the next eight hours.  It was Divine.  Yes, with a capital D.  We ate on it all weekend.  It was glorious!  

If you have ever dreamed of biting into the perfect meat that is delicious hot, warm or cold… this one is for you. 

It completely changed me from a no-roast-for-me-please to a roast-lovin’-foodie addict (you just think I’m exaggerating)!
Mary’s Natural Foods in Springdale is located on 71B at 220 South Thompson Street.  Their website cracks me up (click, here) and is completely unhelpful.  The best way to contact them is via phone at 479-751-4224.

Don’t try searching the internet for Clear Water Ranch information either.  There’s nothing out there.  I did leave them a message trying to find what other cuts of beef they have available and where else they distribute.  Keep checking back to see any updates.  Feel free to contact them at 479-736-9201.

In the meanwhile, take a little detour next time you are in Springdale.  I guarantee it will be worth your while.

Grrrunt-grrrrunt-grrrrunt (my lame attempt at happy and contented beef grunt).

Happy Eating!


Guest post on www.themightyrib.com

Hello All!

Check out my latest guest blog post at themightyrib.com where I stress the importance of not consuming stale ice cubes!  

It's a very important public service announcement. 

Click, here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mark your calendars… for the ‘Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged’ conference (it’s a few weeks away!)


The mini-conference designed for us.  It’s the one you’ve been waiting for… the one where you network with other Aransas women bloggers, pick up bogging tips, gain inspiration and grow.

Oh, and unplug, too.

What does it mean to unplug?  Here’s how the conference organizers describe it:  “step away from the screen.  You can do this.  We’ll have an idyllic setting and real, live, face to face connections with other bloggers and inspiring  speakers to fuel and refresh you to return home ready to face it all.”

Who:  Women bloggers (and would-be bloggers) in Arkansas and beyond (check out the Arkansas Women bloggers website, here)

When:  Friday, June 10 (arrive between 5 & 7ish) – Sunday, June 12 (after brunch)

Where:  The Ozark Natural Science Center in northwest Arkansas (read:  rustic lodges, bunk beds, and feeling like you’re back in summer camp with your girlfriends) (check out the ONSC website, here)

Cost:  $199/person (seriously, that’s cheap:  a weekend getaway including two nights of lodging, meals, speakers, networking, relaxing and * ahem* beverages.

Presenting Sponsor:  Collective Bias and its proprietary online community, Social Fabric™, known for connecting influencers, brands and retailers and working through bloggers, social media and “Real Shopper Media” (check out the Collective Bias website, here)

Hosts:  Arkansas Women Bloggers and the Ozark Natural Science Center

Registration and more details:  Click here for more information or here

Still thinking about it? 

Not quite sure if this is right for you?

Join us tonight, Thursday May 26th at 8-9pm on twitter…

We’re having an online twitter party and talking about it with the hosts, sponsors, registered attendees… and YOU! 

Listen to the conversation and join in when you want to!

How does the twitter party work?

1.    Tonight at 8-9pm get on twitter and look for the hashtag #AWBU (Arkansas Women Bloggers Unplugged). 

2.   I will be your host and will pose questions throughout the hour as conversation starters.

3.   That’s it!  Oh, you may want to use a twitter platform such tweetdeck and add a #AWBU column so it will be the easiest to follow the conversation.

4. Talk to you all tonight!

Can’t make it tonight?  There is a REPEAT twitter party tomorrow, Friday May 27th at 12-1pm on twitter.  Same rules!  Join us for both!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ode to my gluttonous weekend.

Emelia's Mediterranean Cafe's ooey-gooey feta cheese eggs benedict with homemade hollandaise sauce

‘Twas the day before Gluttony 2011,
My “what-if-I-really-don’t-have-any-food-allergies?” weekend.

Doctor prescribed.

“What should I eat?  Where should I go?”

You heard my plea.

“Croissants, pizza, burgers and Queso,
Donuts and milkshakes, quiches and calzone.”

Your suggestions were divine!

“What to do?  What to do?”
I could’ve planned better but thankfully, I had you.

Okay, BEFORE you start writing me off as a self-indulgent diva…
In my defense…
I am not saying I ate an entire portion of all of these decadent dishes by myself.

I took bites.   
Some baby bites and some so huge you could say I ate the whole thing.  

I shared with my husband.
And family.
And friends.

And I am not saying that I consumed all of this over a day.

Over four days.
Friday – Saturday – Sunday – Monday.
So there, not so bad, right?

If you had the chance for a “free food” weekend,
Would you do the same?
Hellooooo dairy…
·       Little Bread Co. cheesy quiche
·       Emelia’s Mediterranean Café Eggs Benedict with feta and homemade hollandaise
·       The Rail pizza with triple mushrooms
·       Goold ole’ fashioned fake queso dip from a jar
·       Braum’s ice-cream mix with butterfingers
·       Noodle’s fried mozzarella
·       Noodle’s fettuccini alfredo
·       Hammondtree’s Grilled Cheese Parmaggedon with Chicken
·       Slice of good, aged cheddar cheese
·       Brie, the very name brings me calm joy

Speak-to-me gluten…..
·       Back Yard Blackened burger (with American cheese, the un-cheese)
·       Onion Ring
·       Noodle’s fried ravioli
·       Pepperidge Farm’s Milano cookies
·       Krispy Kreme donut
·       Meridienne chocolate croissant
·       Corona
·       Raspberry-apple pie
·       Noodle’s meaty lasagna
·       Copeland’s Chicken Parmesan over angel hair pasta

Even went a little nutty…
·       Pistachios
·       Pecans
·       Good old fashioned peanuts
·       Brazil nuts
·       Filberts

Oh… one more thing…
Wondering how I feel?

Strangely… I feel fine.
And confused.
Not sure why I feel fine.  I really had no “episodes” to speak of.
Highly unusual.

Almost all of the lab work is in progress and soon I’ll know.

I am also feeling relieved.
My husband put it best when he said, “I can’t wait until this is over so we can go back to eating normal.”

Imagine that.  

Gluten-free and dairy-free is the new normal.

I finally got to taste my dad's homemade bread!  Worth every bite, seriously.  If you aren't eating or making homemade bread and you aren't living gluten-free... what's wrong with you?!!

You know I HAD to do this, right?
Tomato basil and mozzarella cheesy quiche from The Little Bread Co. on Block Street in Fayetteville.  Gorgeous!

If you're going to have a croissant you must one (1) go to France (which I didn't) or (2) go to a French bakery (which I did).  Have you been to Meridienne Bakery in downtown Rogers yet?  Go.  Just go.  Now.

Here's the deal.  I HAD to eat pizza.  This sign at The Rail in downtown Rogers says it all.  Ahhhh...
It was a toss up between a Dairy Queen blizzard, an Andy's custard or a Braums mix.  My husband decided for me.
Brie is in my top 5 fav foods list.  Rocky, my alpha puppy went WILD over the stench (yeah, I said stench).
I went WILD over the taste.
I started off with Krispy Kreme and ended with my favorite kind of donut: powdered.  I finally got to experience Rick's Bakery.  It was good.... but seriously... I need to detox!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I have an assignment for you.

Attention, please.

As you know, I am gluten-free and dairy-free.  Oh, how I would LOVE to try out the most decadent cheese-oozin’ over-the-top pizza at The Rail in downtown Rogers or the Fettuccini Alfredo at Mary Maestrie’s in Fayetteville.  And, don’t get me started about sampling French Pastries at Méridienne Dessert Salon and Café in Rogers.

This weekend I have a window of opportunity.  An open-checkbook, if you will.

And I need your help. 

Monday morning I am getting tested for food allergies.  That means I need to make sure I have gluten and dairy and a host of other goodies in my system.  

Yes, I can eat anything for one weekend only!

I’m doing it for science.  Okay, I'm really doing it because my doctor said to.

I’m so excited and yet, a little scared about how I am going to feel afterwards.  But I’m doing it for science, right?

So… Northwest Arkansas and beyond… I have an assignment for you…What should I eat?  Where should I eat?  

I am totally open to running around town and experiencing an appetizer here, a main meal there, a dessert somewhere else…

What are YOUR favorite wheat and dairy dishes in Northwest Arkansas? ?????

P.S. I still can’t eat pork or shellfish, so exclude those, thanks.

Thanks for your assistance in this very important assignment!


Williams-Sonoma has lowered their everyday pricing on grilling pans. Thanks, WS!

Last summer I told you about the mesh grill pans available at Williams-Sonoma.  I’m still loving mine and using it for every season of the year. 

It’s getting ready to be abused over the next few months.  Let’s just keep that to ourselves.

So if you didn’t rush out and buy yourself one last year, now there is no reason not to… Williams-Sonoma just announced they have lowered their everyday pricing. 

That means… permanent sale!

Now you can own one for as low as $19.95.  Yep, $19.95. 

Head over to Pinnacle Promenade and pick yours up today, in time for this weekend!  Or, if you are from out of town… free shipping from Williams Sonoma online ends tonight at 11:59. 

Hurry, Hurry!

Happy Grillin’!


Monday, May 16, 2011

Drop-in guests? Here’s a quick cucumber and hummus appetizer solution.

I must be in a cucumber state of mind. 

A few days ago I blogged about a crowd-pleasing cucumber salad with yogurt-dill sauce and here I am…  chattering on about cucumbers.  Again.

Cucumbers are like pets.  They are there for you when you need a pick-me-up and they are loyally steadfast companions when you need them most.  

Event:  Drop-in guests

Pantry check:  Hothouse, slicing or everyday Walmart bin-dump cucumbers

Refrigerator check:  Hummus  

Plating check:  black sesame seeds or a drop of basil pesto or a bit of sun-dried tomato

Process check:  Peel cucumbers to remove skins.  Slice into bite sized pieces.  Spoon cute little dollop of hummus on top.  Top with sesame seeds, pesto, or sun-dried tomato

Smugness check:  Yeah, just a little something you “whipped up.” You’re so good.

I'd love to hear about ways you quickly whip up your own unexpected/expected appetizers!  Leave a comment or two!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt-Dill Sauce.

Crunch. Crunch. Mmmmmm.  Ahhhhh.

I wanted to bring in something a little light and refreshing for our Mother’s Day grilling cornucopia of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs.  I needed something to counter-balance all that testosterone!


A huge-mongous bowl of cut up cantaloupe and chilled cucumber salad!  They were both refreshing, easy to assemble and pretty to look at.   Here’s the recipe for the cucumber salad (I’m assuming you won’t need the recipe for the cantaloupe).

Cucumber Salad with Yogurt-Dill Sauce
Makes 4 servings  


·       4 English (hothouse) cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced (I used 2 hothouse and 2 regular cucumbers and I truly think the hothouse are better for this recipe simply because they have a tighter structure and less moisture)
·       salt and ground white pepper
·       3 cloves garlic
·       2/3 cup (5oz/150g) plain yogurt (dairy free friends, feel free to substitute!)
·       1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
·       2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
·       3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil


Place the cucumber slices in a single layer on a plate.  Salt lightly and let stand for about 1 hour.  Drain off excess liquid.

Mince the garlic cloves and put into a small bowl.  Add the yogurt, lemon juice, and dill.  Season with salt and white pepper to taste.  Add the olive oil and stir until blended to make a dressing.

Place the drained cucumber slices in a salad bowl, pour the dressing over the top, and toss.  Refrigerate for 1 hour, then serve. 

This recipe comes from a wonderful cookbook I purchased last summer from Williams-Sonoma called Cooking from the farmers’ market.  I love it because it provides information about all kinds of produce available all year long at farmer’s markets and ways to prepare them.  Check it out for yourself, here.

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lesson learned from a bowl of fruit.

Dennis and I declared war on ugly food late Saturday afternoon. 

Have you ever heard a Southern-bred lady, preferably older in years, say to someone “now, don’t be ugly.”  That’s the ugly I am talking about.  I declare war against ugly food that is prepared in a restaurant that clearly was prepared with an I-don’t-care attitude.

Ah-ha, now you know what I am talking about.  Don’t you?

We were in Fayetteville, looking for something quick but not fast food, tasty but not heavy.  We popped into a Japanese “inspired” restaurant for sushi, wine and opted to throw in entrées to share. 

Ever have the feeling when you walk in a place that you should just turn around?  We did.  But we didn’t turn around.  $65 later we walked out disgusted… with ourselves. 

Disgusted with ourselves because we knew better.

On the car ride home we literally made a declaration of war against all of it.  No more ignoring our instincts when we walk into a place, no more eating out just to “save time” when, really, we didn’t need to save time at that particular moment. 

No more.

So, why the odd blog-post title?

Today I came across this photo I took in Sabaudia, Italy, a few months ago.  Our hotel was on the beach in a modest working down.  The food and service was best-of-the-best.  Oh, not that five-star kind of best, I am talking about quality of food and nutrients and high caliber of good, hard working people. 

Each day provided a bounty of food… but it was never wasted.  Each day food from an earlier meal was incorporated into a new dish.  Dessert was modest, simple and pure: cake and ice cream. 

And every so often, dessert was a large bowl of fruit.

The lesson I learned from that large bowl of fruit is this:  In the rush or pressure to impress with fine, decadent and over-the-top dessert, never forget the simplicity of fruit.

The lesson I applied to Saturday’s lunch:  Just because I can quickly fill any food desire I please, I must never forget the gratefulness for the privilege to eat.

I promise to share with you all of the places around Northwest Arkansas that are mindful servants when it comes to providing good foods.  I promise to share with you all of the food sources, resources, and recipes that you can bring into your homes so you, too, can be that mindful servant when it comes to eating and serving good foods to those you love.

Thanks for letting me share.

Happy Eating!

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